The US Air Force (USAF) airmen from the 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base (AB), have worked together with Nato allies for exercise Icelandic Air Surveillance (IAS) 2019.
IAS 2019 involved providing air surveillance and interception coverage over Keflavik AB in Iceland between 29 July and 10 August.
The exercise is intended to enable pilots to do scramble alerts and get their flying certifications for intercept missions. It was also conducted to maintain the integrity of Nato airspace.
480th Fighter Squadron IAS 2019 mission commander captain Dominic Collins said: “This mission is a commitment to enhancing regional security. The US routinely trains with its European counterparts and has been participating in this IAS mission since 2008.
“Conducting missions with our Nato allies demonstrates our shared commitment to peace and better prepares us to respond to a range of potential security and humanitarian emergencies we may face in the future.”
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Scramble alerts assess the time taken by pilots to get from ground to air.
As part of the certification, pilots took part in launch processes and prepared for takeoffs.
Collins added: “Certification means that we have proven that we can respond to an alert call within minutes. We can quickly have air power in the sky to respond to real or potential threats. It’s a testament to the hard work and professionalism of our crew here in Iceland.”
The process involved coordination between pilots and airmen responsible for the maintenance of the aircraft.
The mission of the deployed personnel and F-16C fighter aircraft was also to meet the peacetime preparedness needs of Iceland.
The USAF and eight allies have conducted air surveillance missions over Iceland since 2008 in support of Nato commitment to the region.